Day 54: God is in Control: Moving from Mere Cliché (Acts 23:11-35)
Today’s Passage: Acts 23:11-35
Religious cliché, it is easy to fall into. Some of the cliché’s are downright wrong. Others are tremendously true and yet oh so difficult to put into practice.
“God is in control” is one of them.
Certainly, I believe in an all Sovereign and loving God—Jesus shows me this God—yet it can be terribly hard to hold onto this image, never mind living with this belief as a reality.
There are moments of personal tragedy which shake the foundation of this belief. Then there is the day-in and day-out messages from the world that slowly seep in and supplant it.
Why bring this up?
The text today can lull you into missing that God’s in control.
God’s voice is reported in one verse, “…the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage…you must testify also in Rome.”
Then, in many verses we read of men taking vows to kill Paul, and Paul’s nephew (who knew he had a sister!) finding out and exposing the plot. There are so many words describing all that the people are doing, that we can get caught up in their plans, and make the mistake of thinking that God is somehow uninvolved. God is involved. He uses a young lad to prevent the plans of evil men, while his man, unaware of all He is doing, has simply been told, “Take Courage”.
The point is that God is in control, and yes in control of our lives—God is out and about doing things that we are oblivious to, things that bear directly on our lives.
You might say, “But he has not come in the night and stood beside me.” My response to that observation is:
Be careful what you ask for, are you ready to go to the Rome’s of our day.
And, are you sure? Are you sure he has not stood by you?
You might say that God has not only stood by you, he has taken your place on the Cross.
This deep reality, God taking our place on the Cross, is what can anchor us in the trials of our lives. Spend time with him in TWO WAYS. First, get close to him on the Cross—meditate on it. Second, plant his Word deeply into you. Consider 7 moments in Scripture:
Joshua 1:9"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Isaiah 41:10"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Deuteronomy 31:6"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
Zephaniah 3:17"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
Matthew 28:20"Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Hebrews 13:5"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'"
Romans 8:38-39"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
As a follower of Jesus, it is easy for me to say, “He is in control”, but hard for me to live that way. Yet God has shown us in Romans 12:1-2 what to do—to renew our mind, and in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take every thought captive to the mind of Christ—in other words, memorize Scripture, plant it deeply in my psyche.